New York, October 10, 2002—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) welcomes the release of two Palestinian journalists detained by Israeli authorities for five months and urges the Israeli government to release another journalist still in detention.
Youssry al-Jamal, a soundman for Reuters, was released yesterday, October 9, without charge. Israeli forces detained him in the West Bank town of Hebron on April 30 while he was filming with a colleague near the Al-Ahli Hospital. He was held the entire time without charge in administrative detention.
Al-Jamal joins Kamel Jbeil, a journalist with the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, who was released on September 15, also after being held in administrative detention without charge since April 18. He was taken from a Ramallah residence.
Currently, at least one journalist remains in Israeli custody. Israeli forces detained Hussam Abu Alan, a Hebron-based photographer with the Agence France-Presse, on April 24 with a colleague at the Beit Einun checkpoint north of Hebron while he was attempting to reach a nearby village to cover a funeral for Palestinian militants.
Like al-Jamal and Jbeil, Israeli officials have accused Abu Alan of having contacts with militant groups but have provided no details or evidence to support their allegations.
In a September 9 letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that was hand-delivered to Israeli government press officer Daniel Seaman by CPJ senior program coordinator Joel Campagna, CPJ called for the release of all three journalists.
“While we are relieved that Youssry al-Jamal and Kamel Jbeil have been released, we believe neither of them should have been jailed in the first place,” said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. “We reiterate our call for Israeli authorities to release Hossam Abu Alan.”